Sitecore

Sitecore Development & Consulting

We leverage Sitecore as a platform to truly create 1:1 contextual marketing experiences between brand and customer

Known for our ability to extend the Sitecore Experience Platform to be a true enabler of digital transformation

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We support mid-market to Fortune 500 businesses with a wide-range of Sitecore services. From brand new Sitecore implementations to helping organizations drive personalized experiences, our unique value to our clients and the Sitecore community is combining our Innovative thinking and process - with Sitecore.

Sitecore provides organizations with a single, robust system that can handle global, multilingual content at scale – enabling deep levels of intelligence about your customer, who they are, what they care about, and what they are doing.

Want to see what a real personalized experience is? Reach out and we'll show you.

Did you know?

Personalization & 1:1 Marketing has been shown to drive Customer Lifetime Value up by over 400%. Don’t believe us? Just ask Amazon -

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We understand how to achieve a return on your investment in less than a year.

Services

Development

Augmenting your existing team with certified Sitecore developers.

Integration

Connecting the Sitecore Platform to your existing business systems.

Personalization

Creating journeys and roadmaps to deliver value at every customer touchpoint.

Extension

Extending Sitecore's capabilities by building atop of the existing platform.

Transformation

End-to-end implementation of the Sitecore experience platform.

Personalization Struggles

Brands continue to struggle seeing a return on investment in their efforts toward conquering personalization. This is typically due to a fallout between strategy & implementation, or in many scenarios – not leveraging rule-based and journey-based personalization tactics from the onset.

At Icreon, we understand how to breakdown the overwhelming experience of building a 1:1 personalized dialogue across multiple channels. Reach out to have a 30 minute conversation about what Sitecore can provide in achieving effective personalization.

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Best Practices for Developing a Marketing Technology Stack

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Baseline Tenets for Engineering Tomorrow's Customer Experience

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Best Practices for Developing a Marketing Technology Stack

If you’ve been a CMO for a B2B company for any number of years, it’s likely many of the technology purchasing decisions for the marketing department have begun to fall squarely in your lap—and the new challenge is making you squirm.

It’s not that you don’t know the marketing ropes. You’ve launched new products, promoted them, gauged customer interest and reactions, and developed top-notch customer service before. However, while you might employ MailChimp or ExactTarget to handle mass emails—or even a Salesforce CRM application to build a customer database—there’s often very little cohesiveness to the new technology you acquire in the early goings of building a MarTech stack.

Now, you’re being charged with finding new tech that improves your current workflow processes, or that adds new processes such as social networking, content management, data analytics, and more. Plus, these processes and technologies must work seamlessly together. Across all channels.

You’re not alone by any stretch of the imagination if this is your current state of being in the work place. In fact, Gartner predicted back in 2012 that CMOs would spend more on technology than CIOs by 2017, and that’s very close to becoming reality.

The key to making the right purchases is to spend that money wisely. The book, Driving Demand: Transforming B2B Marketing to Meet the Needs of the Modern Buyer refers to an ITSMA study that concludes, “Only 30 percent of companies responding believe they are receiving value from marketing technology (MarTech) investments with the top barriers to success as, no strategy or plan, but rather a management plan…cobbled together over time.”

Today, there are thousands of suites, platforms, and apps available from nearly 2,000 vendors—up from just 100 three years ago—all of which are clamoring for their share of the $20.8 billion MarTech software industry expected by 2018. The sheer number and variety of products may be confusing for the less-than-tech savvy CMO, but it doesn’t have to be.

Keep in mind that the principles of marketing over the past century remain largely the same: You develop products, define your target audience, create promotional campaigns, gauge customer reactions, and do everything you can to keep them happy.

However, the Internet has forever changed the way customers shop and, as a result, how marketers can engage them most effectively. Think informational online content instead of pamphlets, and social media rather than face-to-face interaction at trade shows.

Today, technology exists to make nearly every marketing process run better and smarter. In today’s market-speak, a conglomerate of technologies put together to support these processes is called a marketing stack. There’s no reason to make it any more complicated than that. Besides, the money for these products may come from the marketing department’s budget, but rest assured, you can always tap into your company’s IT expertise when making decisions.

These three best practices will provide you with a solid foundation for building your unique stack—because two stacks are rarely, if ever, alike.

DEFINE YOUR BUSINESS GOALS
Before you even consider acquiring any new technology, make sure you know precisely what business goals you need your MarTech stack to accomplish. Do you want your processes to drive revenue, streamline email campaigns, or manage website content? Or, say you want to improve your customer database and be able to better analyze customer interactions. Further, the goals should be specific and measurable. By being as specific as possible, you’ll be able to seek out products designed to work toward your unique set of needs.

NEVER PUT THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE
Start by identifying the processes you want to improve or automate, instead of seeking out new technology first. This might go without saying, but it’s never a good idea to purchase software before you’re sure it will fit into your plan for building better work flows, and creating better reporting.

While some B2B teams are chomping at the bit to buy marketing technology, industry thought leaders like Cari Baldwin, warn against falling into the doing-too-much-too-soon syndrome. “I see a lot of cases where people buy these tools and then ask what they actually want to accomplish with them,” she said in a report entitled: Marketing Tech 101 An Executive Guide to Understanding and Applying Emerging Technologies. “Don’t just buy something because it’s cool — buy it because you need to get answers to specific questions, and your existing tools can’t get the job done.”

BUILD YOUR HUB, AND EXPAND FROM THERE
According to Radius, the average number of tools in a marketing stack is 17. But yours could be more or less. It’s best to start small and expand. MarTech experts suggest that you build a solid foundation that includes three key elements:

Before branching out too far, these three key elements should be secured into the stack first: a centralized hub that stores data and integrates with any other data-related tools; a marketing automation tool that, in the best-case scenario, works in conjunction with a CRM; and an analytics tool that delivers detailed reports about web site traffic, conversions and tracking.

Keeping it simple to start will allow you to add new technologies as you deem necessary. According to Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape, distinguishing between need to have and nice to have is key to building a successful stack.

Remember, sticking to a slimmer stack in the beginning will allow for more flexibility and scalability down the road when you’ll have a better grasp on additional needs.
When adding to a current technology stack or building one from scratch, it’s important that you work within your means and your company’s means in terms of knowledge, system requirements and business goals. Once you have a handle on the basics, you’ll feel more confident with the new challenges added to your plate as a CMO.

Baseline Tenets for Engineering Tomorrow's Customer Experience

Customer Portals are a scalable way to managing your customers through automation. However, when done incorrectly, the often add more headache, more overhead, and more complexity to your existing CSR and operations team.

Our team Customer Experience Engineering team focuses on building our platforms that first and foremost understand your community. From your freemium customers to your paid and VIP clientele, our goal is to build out detailed User Personas that help members get what they need - efficiently & delightfully across multiple devices and media.

Baseline Tenets for a Great Portal

Multi-channel Experiences

Today users expect to be able to manage their customer accounts from anywhere on the planet. Laptops, desktops, smartphones, and tablets empower them to handle their own customer service issues, billing support, new feature updates & transaction history autonomously while at home, on the go, on their way to work, or while relaxing.

Great Performance, Even Greater Scalability

High traffic & a large customer base should be no reason that a customer doesn’t have a first class experience. Developing a solid, scalable architecture that keeps users constantly engaged and never waiting for your infrastructure to catch up is a function of careful capacity planning, test simulations & and a great degree of software engineering optimization.

Advanced Search & Taxonomy

Portals are only as effective as the ability to find the tasks that they’re capable of completing. Faceted search tools designed to help your users find the tools they need to complete customer service requests, billing completions & upgrades are reliable ways to ensure that you’re customers rely on you less and rely on the portal more

User Experience Excellence

It doesn’t matter if your customer portal has 10,000 features if they don’t enjoy using the portal itself. We think through you customer demographics, from age to gender to technical ability to ensure that when we design the aesthetics of an experience, that users are thoroughly delighted about being able to interact with you digital

Highly Extensible

Today’s customer portals integrate with dozens of third party systems, in-house applications & other partners. We create highly-extensible Service-Oriented platforms that allow your customer portal to easily plug-in and export to other softwares in your technology ecosystem.

Providing an online customer portal is not enough. It must be developed and managed well to be useful to your customer base and company. In order to motivate your customers to use your online portal, you need to create an environment that is going to make a difference in their success with your products or services, as well as measurably enhance the behind-the-scenes operations of your organization.Here are three common aspects of effective online customer portals to consider when creating your own:

Exponentially expand your company’s ability to answer customer questions in your customer portal by allowing customers to ask questions of other customers.

Your organization will never have all of the answers in its portal. However, you can provide an always- on safety net for your customers by opening up your customer portal into a full online community. Including peer-to-peer community features also helps your business efficiently grow your support knowledgebase since all of the historical questions asked and answered are archived for future customers that need support.

The ability to ask and answer questions from other customers humanizes their consumer experience and allows them to feel like a contributing member of your community. By giving your customers the opportunity to forge connections with each other within the “walls” of your online portal, your company can also increase customer retention by help customers build valuable relationships within your ecosystem.

User Segmentation

Your have customers using different products. You also have customers at different stages of their use of your product or service. Some are just starting out and others are seasoned experts.

Since not all customers are the same, not all customers need the same information and resources. Recognizing this distinction and segmenting your information to make it more relevant and accessible will help people find answers faster and make the value of your online portal more clear to your customer base.

You might need to segment by geographic location, product line, or role in the company. For instance, a CIO may need access different information than an end user.

Exclusive Information And Updates

To ensure your customers use your online customer portal, run as much of your company communication as possible through the portal. Companies with effective online customer portals make this website the center of the customer communication strategy.

Balance the use of multi-channel communication (public blogs, email, public social networks, etc.) with your need to turn using your customer portal into a habit for your customers. People won’t use the portal to access information if they can get the information elsewhere. If fewer people use and add their answers to your knowledgebase, the value of the knowledgebase diminishes quickly.

Whether the information is product information or company updates, your portal is a great space to connect with your customers and share the latest news.
The right portal allows you to capture a trove of valuable data - how often a customer thinks about you, what services do they care about most & how happy they are with your
organization in the first place

Taking the Next Step

Having an effective web-based customer or client portal not only helps to decrease support costs, it gives your customers much-needed access to information and other customers.

Since self-service is a popular option in the “I can Google that” era, an online customer portal helps your company control (and have insight into) the flow of information and the access your customers have to solutions. But, it can’t be all about cutting costs. In order to motivate your customers to utilize your portal, you need to make it a worthwhile platform for both them and your organization.

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